Gregory Payan/Associated Press
UFC President Dana White provided clarity regarding the future of Khamzat Chimaev after the welterweight fighter appeared to cast doubt on his future inside the Octagon.
Speaking with MMA Junkie’s John Morgan, White downplayed the idea Chimaev might retire:
“When he got here, the doctors took care of him, and they put him on prednisone, which is a nasty f–king steroid. So he’s on prednisone, and he’s supposed to be taking this thing and chilling, relaxing, and letting himself recover. He went in and f–king trained today, felt like sh-t, and got super emotional and posted that.
“He’s not supposed to be training, but you know, this guy’s a savage. He wants to fight like every f–king weekend, and now he can’t even train, so he just got emotional and posted that, but he ain’t quitting.”
Coming off a first-round knockout of Gerald Meerschaert at UFC Fight Night 178 in September, Chimaev was slated to face off with Leon Edwards at UFC Fight Night in December.
However, Edwards tested positive for COVID-19, forcing the promotion to put the bout on hold. A possible encounter at UFC Fight Night in January was then scrapped after Chimaev’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz, confirmed the 26-year-old was still feeling effects stemming from his own positive test.
UFC tried to book Chimaev vs. Edwards for a third time at UFC Fight Night 187 on March 13, but White confirmed Chimaev was still physically unable to compete.
Brett Okamoto @bokamotoESPN
The UFC is flying Khamzat Chimaev (@KChimaev) into Las Vegas today, per his manager Ali Abdelaziz (@AliAbdelaziz00). He’ll receive medical care in the U.S. for lingering effects of Covid. Abdelaziz said he hopes Khamzat can fight by June, but longterm health is top priority.
On Saturday, the Chechen-born star thanked the UFC for helping him in his recovery and targeted a June return. He also called out Neil Magny in a series of since-deleted tweets (via Mike Bohn of MMA Junkie).
White told Morgan he remains hopeful of Chimaev remaining on a June trajectory.